5 tips to prepare for your 2021 recertification audit
2021 is shaping up to be a busy year for QHSE managers. Not only do companies seeking external recognition of their health and safety practices need to migrate to the new ISO 45001 standard by September 2021, but a new audit cycle has started for many other standards.
These include the flagship ISO 9001 Quality standard and Environmental Management standard ISO 14001, used worldwide by over 880,000 companies and 310,000 companies respectively. Dedicated quality schemes for transport – Automotive (IATF 16949), Aerospace (IAQG 9100) and Rail (IRIS) – are also starting a new cycle.
For large multinational companies, preparing for this intensive audit timetable would pose a logistical challenge even in normal circumstances. In 2021 it is further complicated by the COVID-19 crisis. How can you ensure you stay certified when travel restrictions are in place, preventing auditors from visiting multiple countries? How to juggle sudden site lockdowns as a result of local lockdowns?
1. Think local
Sites in multiple countries doesn't have to mean multiple plane flights and border crossings: Bureau Veritas has auditors on the ground in 140 countries worldwide. As a result, we can address a multinational audit requirement with 100% local auditors.
This is clearly an advantage during the current pandemic, but can make practical and economic sense even in normal times. Two factors that can discourage companies from using local auditors are lack of visibility on local audit organization and results and the difficulty in comparing audit results. A single global certification body, with one audit team leader briefing local auditors for all your sites, provides the best of both worlds: high visibility on audit progress and results, without extensive international travel.
2. Think remote
Companies value the insight that an on-site audit brings, but today, remote audits are becoming a necessary alternative to safely deliver certification services. An auditor conducts client interviews using video conferencing tools and views documents using screen sharing functionalities. In addition to interviews, the auditor can ask to see the workplace, even while conducting the audit remotely.
Since the start of the pandemic, many accreditation bodies and scheme owners allow remote audits. As a result, Bureau Veritas is performing more audits remotely than ever before. Indeed, by the end of 2020, one in five audits carried out by Bureau Veritas was remote!
3. Combine audits
Are you certified to multiple standards? Why not combine your audits for greater efficiency?
Bureau Veritas auditors may be able* to carry out audits to multiple standards – i.e. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 – during the same visit. This can make your audit schedule easier to organize and also reduces the total number of man days. Read how Integrated Management System boosts business at Schneider Electric
*Depending on certification audits requested and available auditor qualifications
4. Organize training for your teams
Do your teams have the knowledge they need to implement and follow your chosen QHSE standards correctly? Digital training enables your teams to get up to speed on management systems, or equip internal auditors with the knowledge they need. Visit your local Bureau Veritas training platform to see what’s available in your region
5. Plan ahead!
With the deadline for many recertification audits falling before September, and many companies aiming to organize audits, it’s a good idea to organize your audit program early on. Essentially, the sooner you commit to your audit by signing a contract, the faster it will be scheduled, bringing you peace of mind.